Archives For Observations

Galveston Road Trip

Bob Borson —  March 4, 2011 — 21 Comments

This last weekend I had to go down to Galveston for the Southwest Fire Rescue Conference in Galveston, Texas and this was clearly your typical road trip.

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I studied architecture in Europe when I was in college – so what.

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Thanks to the generosity of The Spanish Tile Manufacturer’s Association (ASCER) and Tile of Spain, I was able to take a private tour of The Aljafería Palace while in Zaragoza, Spain.

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Urinals are dirty

Bob Borson —  February 17, 2011 — 21 Comments

During a recent trip to Europe, I find a urinal that looks a bit different than what I’m used to seeing.

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Spain after dark

Bob Borson —  February 15, 2011 — 27 Comments

There are times when I wish my job was to be entertaining and not actually do any real work. Do those jobs exist? Oh yeah, strippers have that job.

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Spain – where do I start

Bob Borson —  February 14, 2011 — 13 Comments

I’ve been back from my Reign in Spain trip for 2 days and I haven’t decided how I am going to process all the information for presentation but this as good a place to start as any – the last day/ night of the trip. I didn’t make it to bed in order to take these night pictures, a level of dedication I hope everyone appreciates. This was a really fantastic trip and I am surprised how well our entire group got along with one another. I can only imagine that similarities in our backgrounds lent itself to giving us enough commonalities that there was always something to talk about.

Apparently some of us talk more than others … but I’m not going to worry about that, I took plenty of pictures of people so everyone from the trip should just keep that in mind yeah?

So I am going to start with my trip to Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències (City of Arts and Sciences), located in Valencia, Spain. Designed by local architects Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela, the complex consists of seven principle structures:

  • L’Hemisfèric — an Imax Cinema, Planetarium and Laserium. Built in the shape of the eye and has an approximate surface of 13,000 m².
  • El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe — an interactive museum of science but resembling the skeleton of a whale. It occupies around 40,000 m² on three flats.
  • L’Umbracle — a landscaped walk with plant species indigenous to Valencia (such as rockrose, lentisca, romero, lavender, honeysuckle, bougainvillea, palm tree). It harbors in its interior The Walk of the Sculptures, an outdoor art gallery with sculptures from contemporary artists. (Miquel from Navarre, Francesc Abbot, Yoko Ono and others).
  • L’Oceanogràfic — an open-air oceanographic park. It is the largest oceanographic aquarium in Europe with 110,000 square meters and 42 million liters of water. It was built in the shape of a water lily and is the work of architect Félix Candela.
  • El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía — an opera house and performing arts center. It contains four large rooms: a Main Room, Magisterial Classroom, Amphitheater and Theater of Camera. It is dedicated to music and the scenic arts.
  • El Puente de l’Assut de l’Or — a bridge that connects the south side with Minorca Street, whose 125 meters high pillar is the highest point in the city.
  • L’Àgora — a covered plaza in which concerts and sporting events (such as the Valencia Open 500) are held.

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Santiago Calatrava - City of Arts and Sciences

I thought that I would show you some more photo highlights from my trip since my body is still on Spain time. I am sitting in the kitchen at 5:00am putting this together because I am pretty sure there is a big pile of “welcome home from Spain, jerk” waiting for me on my desk.

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City of Arts and Sciences by Santiago Calatrava

I really wanted to get some nice photos of this space and I think I did all right. The night shots were long exposures so I had to balance my camera on something in order to keep it still long enough. In fact, most of the night shots involved my laying down on the ground and using the the sunglasses from my pocket under the lens to get the angle right. Without the long exposure, the pictures weren’t very interesting. See for yourself:

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City of Arts and Sciences by Santiago Calatrava

The light pollution here doesn’t look as bad (or good) as in the pictures above does it? Here are some of the same spaces during the day – since it wasn’t like 3:30am there are actually people in these pictures.

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City of the Arts and Sciences

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City of the Arts and Sciences

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City of the Arts and Sciences

Of course I have about a million more of these but I don’t really have anything to say about them. The buildings were not available to enter when I was there but I’m not sure that it matters – at least not to me. I find the buildings interesting as objects and they make for an interesting public space but I find them so self-indulgent that my predilections are to not like them as actual buildings. There is no question that people enjoyed them on some level because despite what these pictures present, there were quite a few people here.

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City of the Arts and Sciences

Eventually over the next few days I will take the time to go through all the information I received and the photos I took and prepare some summary posts. I really can’t thank the fine folks at Tile of Spain enough for selecting me to come on this trip. There were no expectations from their end, they simply wanted me to come to Spain, see the country, experience the culture, and understand why they are so passionate about the tile they produce. I have returned home exhausted but invigorated by the new friends I have made and the knowledge I have gained.

But I think I’ve had my last sardine for a while … at least until the next time I go to Spain.

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Spain – I am a Giant

Bob Borson —  February 10, 2011 — 5 Comments

So it is really late and I need to go to bed. They are working us to DEATH on this trip. Between walking around Cevisama, the tile show here in Spain, all the food and wine … what can I say?

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